Will Babar Azam come to the party for Pakistan? That’s the question been asked by all fans about skipper Babar Azam who is struggling to get going in this T20 World Cup, and looks woefully out of form.

Before the start of the World Cup, Azam was in prolific form and scoring runs as an opener for Pakistan in every match. His second T20 hundred came against England in September and he looked good in New Zealand too, in the tri-series. But he has lost his touch totally in the World Cup, with scores of 0, 4, 4 , 6 and 25.

Along with Mohammad Rizwan, Azam was winning matches for Pakistan by laying a strong foundation for the team. Yes, his stike rate was questioned by the critics who were behind his back to score quickly but, whenever he fell early, Pakistan struggled as the middle-order did not fire for them.

Azam is a classical batsman whose technique is so sound and his cover drive is jaw-dropping. But the loss in last year’s T20 World Cup semifinal to Australia in Dubai was put down to his slow start than to the quality of Matthew Wade, who robbed victory from the jaws of defeat from Pakistan.

Azam, who has 3270 runs in 97 games, has an average of 41 which is just second to England's Dawid Malan and India's Virat Kohli and his strike rate is 128. And out of the 18 players who have scored more than 2000 runs in the shortest format, Azam's strike is not far behind, being seventh on the list. And mind you, the middle-order was struggling till the World Cup and he had to anchor the innings to ensure Pakistan were there in the game and not chasing the game.

He did not have that cushion in the middle-order like Malan or Kohli have, to score big in the end. Yes, he does not hit the big sixes but keeps the scoreboard moving. Yes, he has struggled this World Cup but so have the other openers like Rohit Sharma, Temba Bavuma, Aaron Finch, David Warner and KL Rahul till the last two games, to name a few.

Pakistan's express bowler Haris Rauf believes that Azam to Pakistan is like Kohli is to team India and it is a matter of time. And it is not too far when his bat will do the talking.

Rauf added that every player goes through a bad patch and, as a team, they back their captain who had been their No.1 player for them and that they believe in him.

Similar was Pakistan mentor Matthew Hayden's words where he backed Azam and said special players like him don't stay down for too long.

Wednesday is the big semifinal against New Zealand and Pakistan have come from behind to make an entry to the the last four. And they will need Azam to come good if they have to get past the high-flying Kiwis.

Time will tell but, as they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. And Azam is a class act.

Anis Sajan is the vice-chairman of the Danube Group

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